Double Feature

June 2019 - I don't know about you, but I will do pretty much ANYTHING to avoid talking on the phone. I'll text; I'll email; I'll write a letter. I've been proudly screening my calls since about 2000. And, maybe that's a practice that the characters in this month's movies might do well to adopt.

In the R-rated Phone Booth, a publicist's life becomes way too public when a sniper traps him in, well, a phone booth in New York City. Colin Farrell is the unlucky target. Kiefer Sutherland is the voice on the other end of the line.

Despite having a hectic lifestyle and a wife, Stuart Shepard (Farrell) still finds time to woo a young wannabe actress (Katie Holmes) by calling her every day from the same phone booth. The ritual attracts the attention of an unnamed citizen who makes it his business to kill men who don't live up to his own moral code.

One day, Stuart stops in the phone booth to make his usual call. He shoos away a pizza delivery man who says he's been told to deliver a pizza to him. Then, as he's about to leave the booth, the phone rings. Stuart answers it, and thus begins the worst day of his life.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK, although I might have given it three stars if I had seen it when it first arrived in theaters in 2003. The movie is less than 90 minutes long and it did hold my attention. But, watching it some 16 years after it came out, it felt dated. I'm also not sold on the premise of the movie – that a ringing phone has to be answered. Of course, if Stuart doesn't answer this phone, we don't have a movie.

Who knows what might have happened to Kim Basinger if a future Captain America didn't answer her phone call. Basinger, Chris Evans and William H. Macy star in Cellular, a PG-13 action flick from 2004.

Basinger plays Jessica Martin, a wife, mother, and teacher living in suburban LA. No sooner does she return home from dropping her son off at school (if she's a teacher, I don't know why she didn't go right to work after that), then thugs break down the door, kill the housekeeper, and whisk her off to some rundown house and stash her in the attic. The main thug leaves, only to return moments later and smash the attic phone to bits.

Using skills she learned somehow, somewhere, she reconnects wires in the phone until she manages to dial the cell phone of a young man named Ryan (Evans). At first, he thinks Jessica's call is a joke, but eventually he gets that she's not making this up. He then proceeds to make it his personal mission to save Jessica and her family.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. Held my interest, but generally too far-fetched to be believable. I'm afraid that, had this been a real-life story, Ryan would have been arrested (or killed) the minute he started driving into opposing traffic on the freeway. But, you have to give Basinger props for knowing how to rewire a phone!